- Abraham holds an important role in both Islam and Judaism in large part due to the fact that both faiths draw their roots from the Abrahamic traditions. The offspring of Adam eventually led to Noah and his son Shem. Shem’s descendants led to Abraham, his marriage to Sarah, his mistress Hagar and their sons Ishmael and Isaac (Smith 1991). Abrahams sacrifice serves to instil a sense of profound devotion that drives the religious belief. The accounts contained in the Koran and the Bible diverges after the tale of Abraham and the banishment of Ishmael, each citing their own accounts.
- The call story of Muhammad reflects the origins of the faith. As Muhammad’s sojourns to the cave became more and more frequent he began to feel the call fall upon him (Smith 1991). He identified this event as the same as what Abraham, Samuel, Isaiah, and Jesus had been subject too. It was the voice from on high, the authority of the divine that stated “You are the appointed one.” The soul of Muhammad was deemed worthy and the holy Book was opened. Some teach that a person can hear the very the trees talk and the grass grow on the anniversary of this sacred event for it was related that on the anniversary of that Night, not a person can see beyond the fingers of God (Smith 1991).
- The first of the Five Pillars of Islam is the confession of faith commonly known as the Shahadah (Smith 1991). “There is no god but God and Muhammad is His Prophet”. This very straightforward statement contains the very essence of Islam. The second pillar of Islam is known as the canonical prayer, or the section in which the Koran teaches the faithful “to be constant”. This instils the habits of dutiful prayer and worship, something that the Koran considers among the most difficult of tasks. This pillar reveals that Muslims pray as a response to life in an impulse to give thanks for being alive. The third pillar of Islam is embodied in the act of Charity. This passage teaches that material possessions are often in a state of disparity, therefore the well to do should assist those that have very little. The Koran went so far as to create a form of taxation on those that had more in order create a more balanced society. This is a fundamental principle that has been taken up by many of the modern governments. The fourth pillar of Islam is centred on the observance of Ramadan, Islam’s holy month (Smith 1991). It was during this time that Muhammad first received his revelation and at the ten year anniversary travelled the Hijrah, or migration from Mecca to Medina. The Fifth pillar of Islam rests on the principle of pilgrimage. At one time in the lifetime of every man or woman, that is physically or economically able to make it, must journey to Mecca, the place that God first disclosed his revelation (Smith 1991). This ensures that the faith remains rooted in the historical underpinnings that the Koran illustrates.
- The Koran teaches that the interpersonal relationships that exist are important. Within in the context of its teachings it holds a legal basis for a balanced society and a spiritual method that enables a conceptual representation of God. The Koran utilizing tools such as the hadith, destroyed the existing economic caste system of the era and created a faith based system that was a fundamental improvement as regards the quality of life among the common folk. The Koran laid out principles that prevented the practice of the long term familial acquisition of wealth in the form of primogeniture, this approach and the associated vision limited the abuse that the upper class could inflict. In a very no nonsense manner, the Koran lays out a guideline that can be employed on a wide variety of practical day to day applications.
- Shia is known as the partisans of Ali, the son in law of Muhammad, whom they argue should have succeeded Muhammad. Passed over three times, then appointed and killed, this sect is commonly opposed to the Sunni. Sunni are the mainstream traditional branch of the Muslim society. The Sunni’s comprise some 87 per cent of the entire Muslim faith. Sufi are the mystics sect of Islam (Smith 1991). Sufi’s demonstrating their knowledge of the inner message of Islam wore woolen garment in order to protest the silks worn by the rich.
Smith, H. and Smith, H. (1991). The world's religions. [San Francisco]: HarperSanFrancisco.